Is it January 22 already? Good heavens. This month is flying. I’ve been busy writing, revising my novel, blogging, mothering, cooking, running (more on that soon, and on Vitamin G), and a zillion other things I won’t bore you with. So, it hit me today that the first month of a new year is, now, almost gone. Wow. Just like that.

I love posting little snippets here on this blog, which I’ve started to think of as a scrapbook. How about that? A scrapbook that the world can see! And just because I don’t want to forget this wonderful month, here are a few little simple things and moments that I want to remember …

A publicist recently sent me a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook, Jamie’s Food Revolution, which I promptly took to bed that night and covered in sticky notes. Guys, this cookbook is, in a word: amazing. It’s packed with mouth-watering, approachable (and dare I say, healthful!) recipes that anyone can make. Best part: The book is loaded, and I mean loaded, with photos (which makes a cookbook so much more fun, right?).

Tonight I made Jamie’s “crunchy garlic chicken” and it was so, so, so good. I served it with basil couscous and sauteed asparagus (with lemon + mint–a bit random, but it worked (and you recall how much my 3 year old loves asparagus, right?). Let’s just say, everyone finished their plates–including the baby!

Two springs ago, I planned a progressive dinner (remember those?) with neighbors, which was photographed for a feature I wrote for Hallmark magazine (sniffle, sniffle--the magazine folded last year, just before this story was to be published!). My editor was kind enough to send me some of the photos, taken by the super-talented Jake Johnson of Hallmark, and I wanted to post a little snippet of that day here. (I'm still drooling over that food--I developed the recipes for all, but on the day of, we had a chef do the cooking--whew! It's a tough job being a "model"!) It was the most amazingly warm evening in late spring (see how we're wearing tank tops and skirts?!), the food was divine, the drinks were flowing (even if I couldn't drink them--I was 2 months pregnant!), and the wisteria in front of our house was in bloom along with flowers all throughout the neighborhood. We fell in love with the Hallmark producers, stylists--even the makeup gal! What a day to remember! Thanks to my dear neighbors who participated. Let's do it again this spring!

bread-loaf-2

Do you have any New Year’s Day traditions? I was just telling someone on the phone that I always feel sleepy and melancholic on New Year’s Day. Maybe that’s because I live in Seattle and it’s always, and I mean always, rainy and miserable on this day. It’s probably, also, because I drink champagne on New Year’s Eve, and everybody knows how they feel after a few glasses of champagne–even if it is in moderation. So, determined to do something uplifting and fun this year, I pulled out my new bread book and started baking. Let’s just say, after digging into the pages, I may never buy store-bought bread again …